CHAPTER 60 - EPILOGUE
*Cue dramatic music* - the last chapter is here! I had already written it and I'm just too excited for my Paramore concert tonight to deny you all this chapter.
I know chapter 59 was a bit of a smack in the face, but I really felt Harvey would be happier back in England. After all, Hayden has Thorin and I'd assume Harvey would be missing indoor plumbing and technology. Now he has his own chance to have a happy ever after :)
I know I'm babbling but I really would like to say a genuine thank you to you all. To anyone who has read each one of these chapters, who has reviewed, favourite or followed this story. It started out as a pretty stupid idea on my mum's birthday last year and I would never have guessed I would write 60 chapters! It may not be much but it's given me the courage I needed to write my own material. So thank you, I love you all!
Without further ado here is the last Chapter for An Unexpected Journey!
Disclaimer: I do not own the Hobbit or any of the characters/story lines that belong to it, all credit goes to J.R.R. Tolkien, in all his glory.
Bilbo Baggins sat at the desk in his study one autumn evening, quill in hand and blank parchment before him.
It had been twenty years since he had returned to Bag End from his adventure to find his dreadful cousin Lobelia auctioning off his possessions. He couldn't doubt he had felt immense relief to be home again, with his books and armchair and garden. But since then he had felt oddly… empty?
After months of roughing it on the road and narrowly escaping with his life, one would think Bilbo would be quite done with adventures. But he felt the complete opposite. In fact, as he began to add more writing to his memoirs, he was quite ready for another adventure.
A loud knock rapped his front door and Bilbo jumped in surprise, spilling ink over the parchment. He stood up and bustled over to the door, despite the fact he was quite underdressed, wearing only an undershirt and pants.
He distantly remembered the last time he had had an unexpected guest arrive at his door, as he pulled on the handle.
Before him stood a wizard and a dwarf: none other than Gandalf and Balin.
"My dear Bilbo," Gandalf smiled broadly, crouching down to be able to see through the round door.
"Good evening!" Bilbo beamed. He had never been so glad to have visitors in all his life. "My this is a surprise."
"I hope you do not mind the intrusion, Bilbo," Balin smiled his usual warm smile.
"Not at all, not at all," Bilbo said, stepping aside to allow them inside, "Please, come in."
As his guests took seats beside the fire to warm after their long trip, Bilbo bustled about in the kitchen preparing tea and scones. Balin began to update him of everything that had been occurring in the northern lands of Rhovanion.
"Lord Bard is still ruling Dale of course," Balin said, as Bilbo handed him a cup of tea, "And Lake-town is as prosperous as ever."
"That is wonderful news," Bilbo said, "And Thranduil?"
"Perfectly content now he has his own share of the treasure," Gandalf said, "I hear his son Legolas visits Erebor quite often."
"Well that is good," Bilbo said, "Thorin has warmed to the Wood-elves then?"
"For Hayden's sake," Balin shrugged.
Bilbo handed a plate of scones to both Gandalf and Balin. "Is there anything else I can get you? It would not have been an easy journey to get here."
"This is quite fine thank you, Master Baggins," Balin smiled appreciatively.
As Bilbo took his own seat by the fire, the dwarf Lord could not help but note just how different this Bilbo Baggins was compared to the one he had first met all those years ago.
"And how is Hayden?" Bilbo asked, "I haven't heard from her in a while." He and Hayden had been sending letters to one another often, but he had not received a reply from his last one still and that had been at least a month ago now.
"She is well," Balin said, "Very well indeed."
"Has she managed to contact Harvey yet?" Bilbo asked, "She mentioned something about a… phone, was it?"
"I'm afraid not," Gandalf sighed, "But she is not giving up hope. You know how determined she is."
"And her lads are doing well, also," Balin added.
"You mean Thorin?" Bilbo asked with a frown.
Balin opened his mouth to correct him when Gandalf quickly interrupted.
"Not quite," Gandalf said.
Bilbo frowned, quite confused, while the dwarf and wizard exchanged a small smirk. Gandalf tilted his head slightly towards the direction of the front door and he smiled wider.
"They are here."
Before Bilbo could do anything but gape at his guests, muffled voices reached his ears.
"See, I told you it was here."
"I knew it was. I was merely taking the… scenic route."
"Is that what you call getting lost? Honestly Thorin, if we had just asked someone we probably would have been here ages ago."
"I did not need to ask anyone Hayden, I knew the way perfectly well."
"Yeah, right. You're horrible at navigating, just admit it."
"I will not. Would you knock on the door, please? I do not fancy standing outside all evening."
"As long as you admit you got us lost."
"I did not."
"So did you mean to take that 'detour' on our way to Rivendell aswell?"
"How do you know I was not doing that on purpose? I still do not know why we had to visit those elves."
"Those elves happen to be very lovely."
"Mum, I'm hungry!"
"Yes alright, darling. But we can't just barge into Bilbo's home and demand food."
Bilbo hurried to the front door and swung it open before they had a chance to knock and smiled brightly at the sight before him.
The Queen of Erebor herself was standing on Bilbo's doorstep, her back facing towards him and her now long brown hair tied back in an intricate braid. She was wearing a travelling cloak and outfit, no doubt she had had fashioned for her in Erebor, that happened to be the same shade of blue Thorin wore.
Thorin cleared his throat to Hayden and nodded behind her in Bilbo's direction. She spun around almost immediately and absolutely beamed.
She would have run forward and pulled him into a bone-crushing hug, had her hands not been full with a blonde curly-haired toddler.
"Hayden," Bilbo gaped, "Who is this?"
"Now Bilbo, it's been twenty years and that's the only hello I get?" Hayden smiled.
"Oh, right," Bilbo chuckled, "Hello Hayden, Thorin."
Thorin nodded his hello but seemed to be busy with something else, which was at the moment being blocked by Hayden.
"It's good to see you, Bilbo," Hayden smiled. She stepped forward to kiss him on the cheek, balancing the toddler on her hip. "How have you been?"
"Well, very well," Bilbo said distractedly. He still could not get over the small boy in Hayden's arms.
"Bilbo, this is our son Frerin," Hayden said, looking lovingly at the toddler.
"You have a son?" Bilbo gaped, "Hayden we've been writing each other, why did you never-?"
"I wanted to tell you in person," Hayden shrugged with a small smile. She turned again to her son. "Frerin, say hello to Bilbo."
Frerin turned to look at Bilbo with wide stormy grey eyes, a lock of blonde hair falling over his forehead.
"Hello, Frerin," Bilbo smiled.
Frerin's eyes widened and he curled closer to Hayden's chest, burying his face in the crook of her neck.
"Sorry, he's a little shy at times," Hayden said.
"That's quite alright," Bilbo said, "My I cannot believe you have a son. And I must admit I'm surprised at his hair colour."
"So were we," Hayden shrugged, "But then his brothers are much different."
"Brothers?" Bilbo blinked.
"Dad, higher!" a squeaky voice demanded, "I can't see!"
"I'm afraid that's as high as you can go, Drúdin," Thorin said, "Unless you grow wings."
A little boy with brown hair climbed over Thorin's head and sat with his legs over Thorin's shoulders. His soft brown eyes surveyed the area until he saw Bilbo and Hayden looking up at him.
"Why are they staring?" Drúdin asked timidly, burying his face in the top of Thorin's hair.
"I think Bilbo would like to meet you," Thorin said.
Thorin reached up and grabbed Drúdin under his arms and gently pulled him down to the ground.
"Ah, now he looks more like your son," Bilbo smiled, watching curiously as Drúdin stayed close to Thorin's legs.
"Go on, son," Thorin said, "He won't bite."
"Are you sure?" Drúdin asked, looking up with wide eyes to his father.
Thorin smiled and nodded reassuringly. Drúdin stepped away from Thorin's legs and looked in awe up at Bilbo.
"Hi," Drúdin said.
"Hello, Drúdin," Bilbo smiled, "It's very nice to meet you."
Drúdin made a small humming sound as he continued to inspect Bilbo, bouncing on the balls of his feet.
"How old are you, Drúdin?" Bilbo asked curiously.
"Twelve," Drúdin said.
Bilbo frowned and looked up to Hayden, wondering if the boy could count properly yet. Why, he couldn't be older than five years old.
"Dwarves age slower," Hayden reminded.
"Oh, I see," Bilbo nodded, "I merely assumed because you are human-?"
Hayden shook her head, "They inherited all their father's genes."
She turned to smile at Thorin, who had come to stand beside her. He looked quite proud that his sons, despite being only half dwarven, had still inherited the traits of the Durin bloodline.
Drúdin, who was too busy examining Bilbo to listen to their conversation, cocked his head to the side and frowned at the hobbit. "You're not a dwarf."
"No, I'm not," Bilbo chuckled, "I'm a hobbit."
Drúdin frowned and looked down, "Why are your feet so big?"
"Drúdin," Hayden warned.
"I'm just asking," Drúdin shrugged, dragging a foot over the ground.
"Where's Thodin?" Hayden asked Thorin.
Thorin looked by his side and growled exasperatedly, "Mahal be merciful. Does that boy know how to stay still?"
"Drúdin, where's your brother?" Hayden asked, running a gentle hand through her son's thick brown hair.
Drúdin shrugged and pointed inside Bag End.
"Wait, there's a third?" Bilbo asked. When Hayden had said brothers he had thought she was merely mistaken.
"Unfortunately," Thorin sighed.
"I'm sure I would have noticed if someone had come inside," Bilbo frowned.
"You'd be surprised," Hayden said.
"Well, please come in," Bilbo said, standing aside and holding the door for them.
Hayden smiled and walked through, still holding Frerin on her hip and Drúdin by her side. They made their way through the hall to the sitting room to greet Balin and Gandalf, while Thorin unclipped his cloak and hung it on one of the hooks by the door.
"You've been busy," Bilbo commented.
"You have no idea," Thorin said.
"There isn't a fourth is there?" Bilbo asked with a smirk.
"No no," Thorin said, smiling slightly, "Though believe me, I have tried to convince her."
Bilbo chuckled and Hayden's voice echoed from the sitting room.
"Keep dreaming, Thorin!"
Thorin grinned to himself and turned back to his old companion.
"Did you travel here with Balin and Gandalf?" Bilbo asked.
"Yes," Thorin nodded, "We spent the night at the Prancing Pony, though we needed a few extra hours to get the lads ready."
"Three boys," Bilbo said, shaking his head, "What is that like?"
"Messy," Thorin said, "And tiring."
"I can imagine," Bilbo said, "Would you care for a drink?"
"I could do with an ale, now you mention," Thorin said.
"Of course," Bilbo nodded.
But before they could make their way to the sitting room, Drúdin came stomping out.
"Dad!" Drúdin cried, "Thodin hit me."
"And why is that?" Thorin asked.
The twelve-year-old dwarfling stopped in front of Thorin and crossed his arms, pouting.
"Touched his sword…" Drúdin muttered.
"Oh now, you should know not to touch it," Thorin said. He wore a stern expression, but his eyes portrayed his obvious adoration for the dwarfling.
Drúdin frowned and walked to Thorin, patting his father's legs repetitively.
"I'm hungry," Drúdin moaned.
Thorin turned to smile apologetically to Bilbo.
"Not to worry," Bilbo smiled, "There's plenty of scones with Balin and Gandalf."
Drúdin made a small 'mm' sound and ran off back to the sitting room.
"One would think they were grown dwarves, the way they eat," Thorin commented.
"That's hardly abnormal for dwarves," Bilbo smirked.
"No, it is not," Thorin admitted, "Though I fear between the three of them your pantry might not last the evening."
The dwarf King walked off with a small smirk and Bilbo's chuckle faltered. Surly he wasn't being serious, was he?
As Thorin made through the doorway to the sitting room, with Bilbo close behind, a small figure jumped out in front of him.
"Halt! Who goes there?"
Thorin let out an exasperated sigh, "It's your father, Thodin. Please let me through."
"Not until you say the password."
"And what might that be?"
"Drúdin smells like farts," the boy giggled.
"You, Thodin, are going the right way for no supper," Thorin reprimanded, "And don't think I've forgotten about you sneaking away without your mother and I knowing."
"Oh, dad," he whined, "It was just a joke."
Bilbo peeked around Thorin to get a view of the eldest son and held back a gasp. He looked exactly like Thorin, from his jet-black hair to his proud stance. He was even carrying a small wooden sword that was the same shape as Orcrist. The only feature that was different was his eyes, which were a soft brown just like Hayden's.
"Who's that?" Thodin asked, looking curiously behind his father to Bilbo.
Thorin stepped aside and patted Bilbo on the arm.
"Thodin, this is Bilbo Baggins," Thorin said.
Thodin's eyes widened, "The Bilbo Baggins?"
"That's right," Thorin smiled.
Thodin's mouth fell into a small 'O' and he rushed forward to Bilbo, "Did you really kill all those trolls? And what about Gollum, what was he like? Ooh and the spiders – please tell me about the spiders!"
Bilbo gaped and looked from the small boy to Thorin.
"Now, Thodin," Thorin said sternly, "Is that the way to greet Master Baggins?"
Thodin jumped back from Bilbo quickly at his father's words and sunk into a low bow.
"Prince Thodin, son of Thorin, at your service," the boy said, looking quite pleased with himself.
Bilbo raised his eyebrows, impressed by Thodin's maturity for his age, and turned to glance at Thorin. The dwarf King was looking on as proud as ever, smiling warmly to his eldest son though continuing to hold his usual regal stature.
"Bilbo Baggins, at yours," Bilbo replied with a broad smile.
Thodin continued to look in awe at Bilbo, "Iknow all about hobbits, you know. You look just like mum said you would."
"I do?" Bilbo asked.
"Mhm, you do," Thodin nodded, straightening proudly at the chance to show off to someone new, "I think your feet are even bigger than dad's, and he has pretty big feet."
Bilbo saw Thorin shake his head slightly in exasperation out of the corner of his eye, the pride of the moment forgotten. But the hobbit decided to humour the boy. He could tell where Thodin inherited his naturally arrogant nature, and it was standing right next to him in the form of a dwarf King.
"Yes, us hobbits are rather renowned for our big feet," Bilbo smiled, "But I'm sure you know that, don't you?"
"Yep, I do," Thodin nodded proudly, "Can I tell you something, Mister Bilbo?"
"Of course," Bilbo said curiously.
"One day, I'm going to be King Under the Mountain," Thodin grinned, "And I'm going to rule Erebor just like dad."
"Well, I'm sure you will make a wonderful King when the time comes," Bilbo smiled.
"I know," Thodin shrugged, "Uncle Balin says I have to wait until dad is too old, but mum says that isn't too far away anyway."
Thodin frowned to himself, "But she was laughing when she said that…"
Bilbo bit back a laugh and looked to Thorin, who did not look impressed.
"She mocks me in front of my own children," Thorin muttered, "Charming, is it not?"
"Did you really expect anything less from Hayden?" Bilbo smirked.
Thorin sighed and shrugged. He turned his attention back to Thodin, who was still staring up at Bilbo like he was the most wonderful thing he had ever seen.
"Why don't you go play with your brothers?" Thorin suggested.
"Dad," Thodin whined, "I've told you I don't need to play anymore – I'm a big dwarf like you!"
"Well then, go do something big dwarves like me do," Thorin said.
"Like bother mum?" Thodin grinned mischievously.
Thorin did manage a grin at that and it was uncanny how much the two looked alike.
"Yes, go bother your mother," Thorin smirked, knowing he would pay for that if Thodin opened his mouth to Hayden.
Thodin giggled and ran off, waving his sword carelessly in front of him.
"And how old is he?" Bilbo asked.
"Seventeen," Thorin said proudly, "Though at times I'm inclined to believe he's older."
"I can see why," Bilbo said, "He has amazing self-assurance for a young boy."
"That was not the worst of it," Thorin sighed, "If Fili and Kili were here he would be very different."
"They are fond of Fili and Kili?" Bilbo asked.
"Aye, very," Thorin nodded, "Sometimes I am not entirely sure my nephews will have the best influence on them, but they do make for good role models. After all, they were my heirs at one point."
Bilbo nodded thoughtfully, then frowned to himself, "How does he know about the spiders?"
"Hayden," Thorin said simply, "She tells them a lot of stories. Most of them with you in it."
Bilbo smiled and flushed slightly.
Hayden, who had just finished talking to Gandalf, made her way over to where her husband and the hobbit were talking.
She smiled apologetically, her hand gently rubbing Frerin's back, who was still curled up in her arms. "I'm sorry Bilbo if this a bit overwhelming. Gandalf said it would be alright-"
"No, it's quite fine. It's been too long a time since I've had this many visitors," Bilbo assured her, "I still cannot believe you have three sons."
"Neither can I," Hayden smiled.
"Ow, Thodin!" Drúdin cried.
Hayden sighed and spun around to see Thodin aiming another swipe at Drúdin with his wooden sword.
"Thodin!" she called.
Thodin stopped immediately and dropped the sword to his side, grinning innocently.
"What did I say I would do to that sword if you hit either of your brothers again?" Hayden asked firmly.
Thodin's grin disappeared and he looked to the floor, "Gandalf would turn it into a pink rabbit…"
"And don't think I was kidding about that either," Hayden warned.
Thodin glanced nervously at Gandalf and sidled away from the wizard, sword behind his back.
"There's too much testosterone," Hayden sighed.
She shifted Frerin in her arms as he yawned wide, putting his weight on her other side.
"It seems you still have one peaceful child," Bilbo smiled, watching Hayden lovingly coo over the small boy. "It is remarkable how much he looks like Fili."
"And they never let me live it down," Thorin sighed, much to Bilbo's curiosity.
"Fili and Kili," Hayden said through a small smirk, "As soon as Frerin was born they started this joke that I had… well, because Frerin looks so much like Fili, that I-"
She trailed off uncomfortably, but Bilbo immediately understood where she was going and he couldn't help but smile. That sounded like the Fili and Kili he knew.
"You didn't, did you?" Bilbo asked, merely to stir her.
Hayden sent him a mocking glare, while Thorin looked quite displeased with the topic of the conversation, despite the obvious fact it was a joke. It seemed the King Under the Mountain was still as protective of his Queen as ever.
"Here," Thorin said. He held out his arms and took Frerin into them.
The toddler looked up to Thorin and bit his lip, his hand tugging at one of Thorin's braids.
"Dadda," he said quietly, "Food?"
"Are you hungry?" Thorin asked gently.
Frerin nodded and curled closer to his father, jet-black hair contrasting with the light blonde. Thorin smiled and kissed the top of Frerin's head.
Bilbo had to try hard not to stare at the interaction between Thorin and his youngest son. It was not so unusual to see Hayden fawning over her sons; he would not expect any less of her, given her own childhood. But he could never have imagined Thorin Oakenshield, King Under the Mountain, fathering a child. Yet here he was before them, speaking with such kindness and looking at his son with all the love in the world. It was hard to believe this was the same dwarf Bilbo had seen twenty years ago.
"I'll get him something to eat," Thorin said, walking away with the toddler in his arms.
Bilbo shook himself out of his thoughts and turned to Hayden, "How is Thorin these days?"
"He's fine," Hayden shrugged, "At first I was worried it might come back… the sickness I mean."
Bilbo nodded knowingly.
"But we've been so busy restoring Erebor and with the boys that he hasn't really had a chance to dwell on it," Hayden said, "Which is good, in a way."
"That is good," Bilbo nodded, "I admit I was worried aswell."
"Mm," Hayden nodded.
"They are quite different, aren't they?" Bilbo said, nodding to each of the boys, "But you can tell they are yours and Thorin's."
Hayden nodded and looked to each of her sons in turn. Frerin was sitting on Gandalf's lap and giggling as the wizard lit up the end of his staff, while Thodin and Drúdin were lying in front of the fire talking to one another.
"Thodin," Bilbo said, "How did you come up with that name?"
"Just replaced the 'r' in Thorin's name to a 'd,'" Hayden smirked, "But it's also because it sounds like Théoden."
"You remember when we were in England," Hayden said, "And I told you I'd-"
"Always liked that name because it was so strong," Bilbo smiled, "I remember."
Hayden smiled brightly and looked back to Thodin.
"He is a splitting image of Thorin, there's no mistaking that," Bilbo said.
"Oh they don't just look alike, believe me," Hayden said, "Same temperament, same eating habits… same stubbornness."
"And Drúdin?" Bilbo asked, "He seems to be more like you."
"He reminds me of Harvey actually," Hayden sighed, "Always curious – he loves reading aswell."
"So he is like you then," Bilbo smiled, "And Frerin? I know Fili was only jesting, but he really does look like his son."
"I know. But Thorin's brother apparently had fair features too," Hayden said, "Who we named him after."
"Ah, the one who-?" Bilbo asked gravely, and Hayden nodded.
"He's a cheeky little one too," Hayden said, nodding to Frerin, "He'll probably grow up to be like Fili… but he has Thorin's eyes. That's what I love the most about him."
"He does?" Bilbo asked.
"The only one out of the three who inherited those gorgeous eyes," Hayden smiled, "Thodin and Drúdin are stuck with mine, unfortunately."
Bilbo chuckled lightly and smiled to her, "They are beautiful boys, Hayden. I'm proud of you."
"Thank you, Bilbo," Hayden smiled.
"Do you plan on staying long?" Bilbo asked.
"I did want to show the boys around the Shire a bit, and have a look myself," Hayden said, "I'm still in shock that I'm in the Bag End."
Bilbo chuckled. The fact that someone found his home so interesting was odd, but then this was Hayden Parker – she was odd.
"You are very welcome to stay here," Bilbo offered, "All of you."
"Oh that's kind of you, Bilbo," Hayden smiled, "But we can get rooms at the inn down the road."
"Nonsense," Bilbo said firmly, "I won't have you anywhere but here. This hobbit hole is too big for just one hobbit. And I'm in need of some company, anyway."
Hayden inwardly thought to herself that it wouldn't be too long now before he would have a permanent houseguest, but she kept that skillfully to herself.
"Well, thank you Bilbo," Hayden smiled appreciatively, "Though you may regret your decision after a few days. If you thought having thirteen dwarves here was bad try three half Dwarvish children."
"I'm sure they're not that bad," Bilbo shrugged.
Hayden was about to mention just what he was in for when Bilbo beat her to it.
"I'll get you something to drink," Bilbo said, "I'm sure you're tired after the journey here."
Hayden nodded appreciatively and made to follow him to the kitchen when a pair of strong familiar hands enclosed around her waist.
"I did not know you thought so highly of my eyes," Thorin murmured, his chin resting on her shoulder.
"How could I not?" Hayden smiled, "They are gorgeous."
"Hm, remind me what that word means again?" Thorin mused.
Hayden turned around in his arms to face him and wrapped her arms around his neck, "Oh, I think it was… very good-looking or pleasing to the eye?"
"Yes, that sounds familiar," Thorin grinned.
He leant forward to press a light kiss to her lips, but did not linger too long, remembering all too well they had company. It was rare these days they had a moment like this alone.
"Thank you," Hayden said, "For everything."
Thorin smiled and shook his head, "Remember; you are mine and I am yours."
Hayden smiled broadly and pressed another kiss to his lips, "And you always will be."
So I know this gives away the sequel, but there are a lot of gaps to fill believe me, and much more in their future after this.
For those curious, Thodin [Thoh-din] would be 7 in human years, Drúdin [Droo-din] is around 5 and little Frerin is 2. I just multiplied their ages by 2.5, which I read somewhere, to get the Dwarven age. I thought having them age in Dwarven years would be cute, and it would make Thorin one proud papa.
Again thank you for reading this story, and I hope you stick around for the sequel!